Cowboys Improve to 7-0

STILLWATER -- Eddie Sutton and the OSU coaching staff learned quite a bit about their basketball team during the seven-day stretch that ended with the fifth-ranked Cowboys' 86-73 victory over Alabama-Birmingham at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Friday night.

OSU won three games against teams that play completely different styles of basketball during a stretch from last Saturday through Friday night's nationally televised ESPN2 broadcast of the Cowboy victory. The Cowboys showed they can play an up-tempo game (UAB), win against a team known for having one of the best zone defenses in the nation (Syracuse) and could play a slow-it-down game (Washington State).

Friday night's victory over Alabama-Birmingham was the closest margin of victory in the three games at 13 points. The Cowboys defeated fourth-ranked Syracuse 74-60 on Tuesday night, and whipped Washington State by 52 points (81-29) last Saturday night.

"The thing that I think was good for us is we saw three different styles," OSU associate head coach Sean Sutton said. "We saw a very methodical, half-court oriented team in Washington State. We saw one of the best zone defenses in college basketball Tuesday night against Syracuse. Then tonight UAB may be the best pressing team in all the country. They led the country in steals the last two years.

"It was a good week for us. I think we learned some things about our team."

One thing that Sutton and the Cowboys have known since the start of the season is that they have numerous scoring threats, and it showed against Alabama-Birmingham. Six players scored in double figures as the Cowboys cruised to a 20-point lead in the second half before the Blazers chipped away for the final margin.

Joey Graham led the Cowboy scoring attack with 20 points. He was followed by John Lucas with 18, Daniel Bobik with 14 and Ivan McFarlin, Stevie Graham and JamesOn Curry with 10 points each. McFarlin also had 12 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double of the season.

"Like we've been saying from the beginning, you never know who is going to go off on any given night," said Joey Graham, who also added seven rebounds before fouling out with 2:31 remaining. "We have so many different weapons that it doesn't really matter who scores. We are an unselfish team. When you have an unselfish team a lot of people are going to get a lot of points."

Bobik, who was 4-of-6 from behind the three-point line, had his best game of the young season.

"I think he played really well," McFarlin said of Bobik. "He really came out tonight and played the game and didn't worry about anything else. I think he did a good job in the passing lanes running through the ball. He's a weapon that we need down the stretch. I think he can really help us."

Lucas scored 18 points after struggling against Syracuse. He also dished out eight asssits while committing only two turnovers.

"I am the point guard and my job is to get the team going and to get the team moving in the right direction," Lucas said. "With the players I have around me, I am going to get assists because they are going to score."

GoPokes Top Stories